The Rosie Effect Page 100

Gene sat down and Dave stood up. \Don saved my baby and my marriage and my business. Sonia\s going to take over the administration. So I\ll have some time with her and with Rosie. Our baby.\

Rosie looked at me and then back at Dave, and then at me again. She had not been informed of the choice of name.

George stood up. \Don...\ He was overcome by emotion and could not continue.

George attempted to hug me, and probably found me unresponsive. Gene took over. \Rosie and I were there on the night that Don decided that the most important thing in his life could wait while he looked after someone else. For the rest of you, Don has the event on video.\

I was feeling embarrassed. I am adept at problem-solving, but only in the practical sense. Solutions such as suggesting that an accountant could contribute to her husband\s business or recommending a change of personnel in a rock band were deserving of credit, but not such an emotional response.

Then Lydia Lydia stood up. \Thank you for letting me be a part of this. Can I just say that Don\s example has helped me overcome a...prejudice. Thank you, Don.\

Lydia\s testimony was a little less emotional, which was a relief. I was surprised that my arguments had persuaded her of the acceptability of eating unsustainable seafood.

Everyone looked at Phil for a few seconds, but he said nothing.

George started playing the movie, then all four of the Dead Kings, including the Prince, arrived. George the Third drew everyone beers and was about to start the movie again when the Eslers buzzed, followed shortly afterwards by Inge. Gene and Rosie had made phone calls. Lydia and Judy Esler went out on the balcony and were gone for some time.

It seemed appropriate that I should invite my remaining local friends. I called the Dean and Belinda B3 and within an hour we had the entire B Team as well as the Borensteins. George drew more beers and, for the first time, his apartment actually resembled a functioning English pub. He seemed extremely happy in his role as host. Rosie had resumed holding my hand.

The story of the James Stewart character\s struggles and near suicide was interesting and highly effective at manipulating emotions. It was the first time I had cried at a movie, but I was aware that others were having the same response. I was also experiencing emotional overload due to Rosie\s proximity, the endorsement of the most important people in my life and the pain of my marriage ending. Rosie was going to leave an awful hole.

She had to explain at the end of the movie that she had changed her mind.

39

Rosie and I had the best Christmas ever. We were on the plane from Los Angeles to Melbourne and crossed the International Date Line, thus virtually eliminating the day that had given me so much stress in the past. We were further upgraded to first class and the cabin was only half-full. The stewards were incredibly friendly. Rosie and I talked about Christmases of the past, which had been painful to her also, due to the absence of her mother as a result of death. Phil\s family and her mother\s relatives were good people but annoyingly intrusive. I could relate to this.

We talked about our plans. Rosie had accepted my theory of three relationships and was willing to trial my approach to the division of responsibilities. My performance with the lesbian mothers\ baby had given her reassurance that I would be able to relate emotionally to Bud. I warned her that it might take some time.

\That\s fine,\ she said. \I guess I was worried that you would somehow mess up my relationship with him or her.\

\You should have just said so. I\m good at solving problems and following instructions. I would have done whatever was necessary to preserve our relationship.\ The responsibility I had volunteered for aligned with my instincts in the same way that Rosie\s giving priority to the baby aligned with hers.

Rosie would defer her decision about continuing at Columbia for a few months. This seemed sensible.

Phil decided to stay in New York for Christmas, sharing our apartment with Gene, as well as Carl and Eugenie, who were due to join their father for January. He was extremely happy about everything seeing Rosie, the Bud situation, and Rosie and me being together but recognised that we would enjoy some time in his house alone in Melbourne to recover from jet lag and acclimatise to summer.

Nobody else knew we were coming, so we had eight days together without interruption. It was incredible! The enjoyment of interacting with Rosie was amplified by the realisation that I had almost lost her.

Phil\s house in suburban Melbourne had broadband-internet facilities, and that was all I needed to communicate with Inge and the B Team and continue writing up the two projects.

Phil returned on 10 January. All relatives wanted us to stay in Melbourne for the birth, and David Borenstein supported the decision. Rosie had already cancelled her US arrangements and booked at a Melbourne hospital after deciding to leave me, so it was less disruptive to plans overall.

We spent three days at my family home in Shepparton. The stress of interaction was alleviated by the debriefing of the Soundproof Crib Project with my father. We talked for hours beyond bedtime without the support of alcohol. My father had solved some practical problems with the use of the materials, and the Korean research team was negotiating the rights to the improvements and my father\s ongoing participation. It was unlikely my father would become rich but, in a scenario reminiscent of the passing of the batons, he would need to hand the hardware store responsibilities to my brother Trevor. My brother was extremely pleased with this development. I wondered if one day I would hand over something of my life to Bud.


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